More stories related to 2005 NAIAS DETROIT – Coming off a record-setting year in which it sold 1,440 cars in North America and 4,900 worldwide, Ferrari Maserati Group arrives at the North American International Auto Show with yet another product to entice the well-heeled buyer of exotic super cars.

The Ferrari Superamerica is a unique hardtop convertible whose 1-piece glass top rotates cantilever-style, locking down conveniently in a horizontal position behind the front seats. To open fully, the innovative roof needs only 10 seconds.

Because the roof does not close into the trunk, the Superamerica suffers no loss in cargo space when the top is down. A set of golf clubs, in fact, fits nicely.

Unique 1-piece glass top opens in 10 seconds.

The Superamerica, based on the 575M Maranello, goes into production in March in Maranello, Italy, and will arrive in the U.S. in June. The Italian auto maker plans to build only 559 units for the worldwide market, and pricing is expected in the range of $305,000.

Italian design house Pininfarina SpA led the styling of the Superamerica. Italian supplier Fioravanti developed the roof-closing mechanism. The roof structure is made of carbon fiber, making it extremely lightweight.

Ferrari calls the roof package “Revocromico” to emphasize the combination of the rotating-axis roof with electrochromic glass. The glass allows the driver to switch among five tinting levels at any time. The roof can go from dark to light in less than a minute.

The Superamerica is powered by a 5.7L naturally aspirated V-12 that produces 540 hp at 7,250 rpm and 434 lb.-ft. (588 Nm) of torque at 5,250 rpm. It dashes to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.2 seconds and achieves a top speed of 199 mph (320 km/h).

Two transmissions are available: a 6-speed manual or a Formula One-style automated manual with paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

Ferrari’s 2004 sales represent a 7% increase from the 1,350 cars delivered in North America in 2003. The company attributes sales growth to the new 612 Scaglietti and the new F430.

Ferrari 2004 sales were up 19% in the U.K., 38% in Japan and 14% in France.

tmurphy@primediabusiness.com